Notes & Quotes: The 32 Principles by Rener Gracie

The following are my favorite quotes from Rener Gracie's The 32 Principles: Harnessing the Power of Jui-Jitsu to Succeed in Business, Relationships, and Life.

  1. On more than one occasion, I have been asked if, in retrospect, I view my back injury as a type of blessing in disguise. My answer to that question has always been consistent, I believe that life doesn't happen to you. Life happens for you. So whether that injury was a cosmic gift or not, I made it into a gift for myself.
  2. In jiu-jitsu, our connectedness to an opponent is used to supply us with a trio of important outcomes: to prevent motion, to promote motion, or to predict motion.
  3. Sometimes the people closest to us don't need the type of help we want to give. They need a different type of help from us. They need for us to realize it's all right to let go.
  4. We should aim to develop the foundational emotional and communicative tools that help us to navigate a myriad of potential social obstacles while remaining balanced. Among these tools and traits are a healthy self-esteem, humility, personal reliability, confidence, respect for others, the ability to deal with pressure, a strong will, and the possession of a moral compass. If you can bring any three of these tools to a given situation, the chances of you controlling the situation, rather than the reverse, will increase substantially.
  5. "Once you give [others] the power to tell you you're great, you've also given them the power to tell you you're unworthy. Once you start caring about people's opinions of you, you give up control." Ronda Rousey
  6. My grandfather once noted, "Jiu-jitsu is a mousetrap. The trap does not chase the mouse. But when the mouse grabs the cheese, the trap plays its role."
  7. We like to say: Be first and third. What that literally means is that those in control of a situation make the first move, knowing what the opponent's response (the second move) will be. Then we capitalize on that opening through the third move, the move we set up for ourselves.
  8. If you are the first to accept the inevitability of an action performed against you, then you also have the opportunity to be the first one prepared for the outcome of that action. And that acceptance can be extremely valuable in determining what happens next.
  9. "My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations." Michael J. Fox
  10. "Intelligence is like a river: the deeper it is, the less noise it makes." Unknown
  11. Water doesn't focus on where the rock is. Instead, water focuses on where the rock is not. It takes the path of least resistance, never losing sight of its primary goal of reaching the sea.
  12. For someone taking a fall, be it physical or figurative, the two questions they should immediately ask themselves are: How did that happen? and At which point did their balance begin to become compromised?
  13. I'm partial to saying, "The Gracies used to teach jiu-jitsu to police officers. Now we teach jiu-jitsu for police officers. I'm just the messenger." That's the type of improved vision the Reconnaissance Principle can produce when you're receptive to the power of new information.
  14. Coauthor and journalist Paul Volpani, "When you can call someone by their name, there's less anonymity. Hence, people are less likely to do the wrong thing in front of you. That can insulate you and those in your immediate area from their problems." 
  15. Above all else, the tension surrounding UFC 1, both inside and outside the octagon, revealed one unequivocal truth: when it comes to a no-rules fight between two people, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is the superior art form.
  16. Imagine studying for a final exam in a class you're doing well in or preparing to be interviewed for a job promotion perfectly suiting your talents. Eustress pushes you to study and prepare, and that little bit of nervousness you feel helps prove that the outcome is important to you. It is the optimal amount of stress for the average person. In a sense, eustress is the opposite of distress, and its presence in our lives is vital to our overall mental health and well-being.
  17. Don't defend the submission. Defend the position.
  18. "Purposeful giving is not apt to deplete one's resources." Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  19. Leading by example isn't simply the best way to teach. It's the only way to teach.
  20. Like my grandfather always said: There is no such thing as a bad student, only bad teachers. If a person who is small, weak, or unathletic has the courage to give jiu-jitsu a try, it is our responsibility, as their teacher, to exceed all their expectations when it comes to fostering a fun, safe, and positive learning experience on the mat. If someone tries a class and doesn't come back, it's not because they're weak, it's because we didn't do our job. This was my grandfather's belief, this is my belief, and this is the belief of the thousands of instructors my brother and I have personally certified to teach our programs.
  21. "The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts." Charles Darwin